Today’s post is about something I’ve often wondered about. It’s common advice to aspiring writers that they must write every day: you MUST MUST MUST write EVERY SINGLE day. In “On Writing,” Stephen King makes a big deal out of this: he says he writes on holidays, on his birthday, 365 days a year. The thinking behind this mandate is, if you’re working on a project the length of a novel, you must make SOME progress each day, even it’s barely anything, to keep the storyline and characters fresh in your mind. You have to keep momentum going. Once you leave a project, it’s difficult to come back and finish it. It’s not impossible, but it’s a challenge, so it’s better to just power through if you can by writing every single day, even if that’s for half an hour or even fifteen minutes. For encouragement, people note that if you write one page a day, in a year you can feasibly have a novel completed.
My question is: does editing count as writing when people say, “You should write every day”? Do they really mean to say, “You should work on your fiction every day?” Editing, after all, is an important part of the writing process, one that can teach you a lot, and I prefer, when possible, to work on one project at a time. I’m a grad student, so between my teacher and student duties it can be hard to find time each day to BOTH edit a completed draft and add to one in progress. I’ve always felt that as long I wrote OR edited each day, I’m in the clear. Right now I’m in an editing phase concerning my trilogy. I’m getting “The Magic Council” (part II) in shape for its November release and also smoothing out the first draft of “The King’s Sons” (part III) for beta readers. I’m excited to start drafting a prequel, but I need a while before my ideas are developed enough to start writing and I can find the time to write. First priority is the trilogy: I don’t want to rush releases, but I’d like to get the entire set, as a quality product, out as soon as I can. I just wondered what other people felt about this writing/editing question? Please leave a comment with your thoughts/opinion. Thanks!